Betsy Speicher

Confessor

Rate this book   3 votes

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3 posts in this topic

There are no specific spoilers in this post.

I initially put my vote at an 8, but when I started to gather my thoughts for actually reviewing it, I would have to say a 7.

The only tension that is present in the book is the question of whether Richard will piece everything together in time to save the world. We knew this from the last book so this won't surprise anyone who has read Phantom. Time is running out and the good guys are stuck with a 2 of spades and a 5 of diamonds in the greatest of all final poker showdowns.

Richard saves the day by becoming Periot in a detective story when you don't know you are supposed to be paying attention to the clues that are given. The endless discussions about three-thousand year old wars and verification webs presented as filler conversation become the crux of the storyline.

The villains are dispatched as if it were a description of an actual event and not a dramatized story. The following is not a spoiler. Jagang obviously meets his doom in this book, but it was done in the same way that I discard a napkin. Yes, it fact, he is a nothing, but to have his demise that way lacks drama. To keep examples within the same general genre (although from a different art form) the demise of Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi had dramatic import because of the way he met his demise - at the hands of his most trusted servant, when he saw what his master really was. [Parenthetically I still say that Lucas had to have ripped that idea from Hugo's Notre Dame.]

There is no catharsis here on any level. There is only one good person that dies, and I think he failed to milk even that for what it was worth. There is also no question (and this had to be from the set-up left from the end of the last book and maybe before) of who is on what side. None whatsoever. In this sense, to parallel his favorite author Ayn Rand, there is no "Wynand" moment when you are wondering if he'll have the strength to overcome his weakness, or whether Hank Rearden will redeem and save himself. There are no questions left for us in this 600 page book. Even more than that; you know the good will prevail in this story, but it doesn't involve character or choice here, just mechanical churning out of sequences of events.

I remember, I think it was in Naked Empire where Verna's love, the wizard Warren is killed by an Imperial Order assassin. They bring the man up for punishment, he is to be killed. Cara, the Mord-Sith, spins her Ageil up into her fist and says, "Let me do it." We get the satisfaction of that man screaming into the night as justice is sesrved to him by a professional torturer. I knew just before she stepped forward that it was going to happen, and the anticipation and pay-off was great. There is nothing like that in this book.

Zedd, in this book, is like Morpheus in the 3rd Matrix, a waste of a good character, hardly even there.

To take another parallel. The sword of Truth series is 2nd probably only to the Harry Potter series (and a distant 2nd at that) in popularity and storytelling. There is no scene in Confessor that compares to the wedding scene in The Deathly Hallows where the message comes "The Ministry has Fallen. Scrmigeour is dead. They are coming." That was urgency, that was tension. That was a sit up in your seat, grab a cigarette - "oh sh**" moment. Confessor just plods along with no immediacy.

I don't know how many times I read something like "...the freedom to live our lives as we choose." And the Objectivist-ish quotations are rampant as well. I think he committed the fatal mistake of wanting to teach something instead of telling a story.

I still give it a 7 and not lower because I still had some residual enjoyment of visiting a lot of these characters for the last time even if in a diminished form.

But, overall, he could have done a lot better.

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Yeah, but I think the way Jagang was disposed of without any real drama was fine, there really was no point making it too dramatic, plus the end of the book was really quite dramatic enough as it is. In fact I think given the events portrayed, and the choices the characters like Richard were likely to have made...it would have likely been inplausible that it would have been too dramatic.

Good review overall, and I agree with most of the opinions expressed, but that one did warrant clearing up I think.

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